QB1 Primer: Week 2
In our second weekly installment of The QB Primer, we look at the varying tiers of quarterbacks, assessing risk, home/away matchups, and realizing each week will have a bit of spontaneity. Remember this isn’t predicting order simply identifying who is likely to be among the top 12.
Alex Smith? Carson Wentz?
Are those the guys you had at the top of your QB1 list in Week 1? Did you have them significantly outperforming Russell Wilson? I can’t find one expert who did in their weekly projections, certainly humbling us all so-called “experts”.
Hopefully you will see as you tune in weekly to the QB1 Primer, you’ll see there is a big level of variation each week. Even for QBs that you probably would never feel comfortable starting but end up ahead of your “sure-fire” starter that week. Let’s regroup after a crazy Week 1 and try to nail down who is most likely among the top 12.
Drew Brees @ NYG
For the second week in a row, Brees tops the list of likely QB1 candidates. After showing out last week, he revisits a Giants team he lit up for 7 TDs last year in one of the most memorable fantasy outputs in recent memory. Vegas loves this game with a total of 52.5, higher than last week’s New Orleans game. In other words, don’t think twice. Start Brees. Expect greatness.
Eli Manning vs. NO
Manning surprised me Week 1 with a strong road performance against Dallas and now draws a New Orleans secondary that was depressing in the second half as they let Derek Carr and the Raiders steal a victory. Over the last calendar year, the Saints are giving up a QB Rating of 116 every single week, equivalent to rolling out a for-sure top five QB every week. I love Eli at home and expect this to be a shoot-out.
Cam Newton vs. SF
Newton looked less than spectacular last week against the Broncos and yet was able to grit out a top 12 showing with a rushing TD to aid. The 49ers looked like world-beaters on MNF against the Rams but should be humbled by the NFC champs on the road. The only thing that could keep Cam from high-end numbers is if the Panthers jump out to an early lead on the ground and simply continue to milk the clock with Jonathan Stewart and company in the second half.
Matthew Stafford vs. TEN
I felt validated after drafting Stafford on most of my redraft teams late and rewarded with a top 5 showing in Week 1 against the hapless Colts. As noted by J.J. Zachariason, Stafford completed 100% of his passes to everyone on the Lions not named Marvin Jones. The Titans on the road seem like the perfect team to pounce on. I think this game will be a bit closer than the line (Detroit -6) suggests so prepare for another 300-yard performance.
Carson Palmer vs. TB
The safety net himself, Carson Palmer, graded just outside of QB1 territory last week behind another Carson (Wentz). Despite the Cardinals shockingly losing at home, he was still his old self, connecting with Larry Fitzgerald twice and being as efficient as ever. You have to love him with another home matchup against a Bucs secondary that was routinely picked apart by Matt Ryan last week. I can see 280+ yards and 2 TDs, which is the line for a low-end QB1 with added upside if this game turns into a shootout.
Blake Bortles @ SD
This is one of the toughest games to project because although it has the makings of two teams that love to air it out, both teams also have made a concerted effort to pound the ball on the ground with Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead as well as TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory. Still, Bortles targeted Allen Robinson 15 times last week, something I think should happen again. If you throw in the 20-30 yards rushing for Bortles, I like him to come in as a mid-level QB1 against the Chargers.
Derek Carr vs. ATL
Carr came through in Week 1 with a come-from-behind win against the Saints on the road and the makings of a maturing QB. He peppered both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper with targets, something that should repeat itself against the Falcons’ secondary. If the Raiders do get things going on the ground and jump ahead early, the game flow could work against Carr putting up a monster performance. Still, Vegas projects this being the third highest line (49.5) of the weekend and one in which you should start the young gunslinger.
Matt Ryan @ OAK
Despite losing at home to divisional rival Tampa Bay, Ryan came out swinging Week 1 completing 27 of 39 passes for 334 yards and 2 TDs. He is frustrating to own but could pay big dividends even on the road against an Oakland pass defense that gave up 400+ yards and 4 TDs to Drew Brees last week. The volume should be there with the only continued question mark being his red zone troubles.
Last Four In
Ben Roethlisberger vs. CIN
He was superb last week especially with the relatively new weapons (Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, Jesse James) at his disposal. The Steelers-Bengals games are always barn burners and I think running lanes will not be as open for DeAngelo Williams as they were last week against the Redskins. I’m looking for Big Ben to throw 40+ times and get here based on volume. Expect some INTs but some big yardage totals as well.
Joe Flacco vs. CLE
This might be one of the strategies at play all year for the QB1 Primer: Who is playing the Browns? Start em. Although Flacco played less than stellar last week aside from a Mike Wallace bomb, I love the Marc Trestman-led offense to spread the ball around and take advantage of the Browns lack of pass rush.
Jay Cutler vs. PHI
Jay Cutler’s Week One was pedestrian at best but I think he has a chance Week 2 to take advantage of the Eagles secondary. Cutler is my “stream of the week” on Monday night. I like Alshon Jeffrey’s matchup against rookie CB Jalen Mills, a seventh rounder as No. 1 CB Leodis McKelvin is out. I am projecting 275+ yards with 2-3 TDs for Cutler and someone who could return in GPPs.
Marcus Mariota @ DET
This is a complete dart throw and based on the assumption that the Titans running game will be stifled. He looked lost last week but has shown in his 13 games thus far as a starter that his upside in any given week is QB1 territory with the added ability to rush the football. I expect this game to be a higher scoring affair even on the road for Mariota as he’ll be forced to throw more than last week’s slugfest against the Vikings. Count me in the minority but with the added caveat as a contrarian play with huge upside and low ownership percentages in DFS.
Four-get About It
Andrew Luck @ DEN
Luck looked like his old self against the Lions and brought the Colts within a late Matt Prater FG of an opening week win. Although he has had some success against Denver, I don’t trust him on the road against the defending champs. The Colts’ offensive line is still a mess and I expect Von Miller and Co. to give Mr. Moneybags Luck very little time to push the ball downfield. I think this screams turnover city.
Jameis Winston @ ARZ
Count me among those that won’t be buying into Winston in Week 2. He marched the Bucs routinely down the field against my beloved and punchless Falcons defense to the tune of 4 TDs. Playing in Arizona is a different animal. Unless Vincent Jackson takes advantage of squaring off against a rookie CB, I’m sided with the experienced Cardinals defense to force turnovers at the expense of Mr. Winston. No thanks.
Ryan Fitzpatrick @ BUF
This has the makings of an ugly Thursday night contest with Vegas’ line of 40.5 the second lowest of the weekend. Although he found the end zone with Quincy Enunwa and Eric Decker in Week 1, Fitz still looks a bit rusty and is always one throw away from things blowing up in his face. I can’t see much more than 2 TDs and I think his upside is limited in this game.
Kirk Cousins vs. DAL
Cousins was barf worthy last week although his final yardage total might suggest otherwise. The Steelers exposed who he is: an average at best QB who had to dink and dunk his way. I expect the Cowboys to slow the game pace down and give Cousins little options down the field for big plays. I’m staying away until he proves he has last year’s mojo back.
Last Week’s Record: 5/12
2016 Overall Record: 5/12